Am I Resting On My Laurels?

I have been wondering about this years NaNoWriMo. I have a game plan, I know what I am doing… So, what do I need to do?

Well, it would seem panic.

I just went to turn on my laptop, and it turns on… but there is no charging of the battery. And I have a lot of items on there…

Now, I know it might seem melodramatic, but I already had one laptop die on me. So, I am rather nervous of technology dying on me at present. That said, I plan to buy brand new this time, to get around the whole business of second-hand lifespan issues. I doubt I can be blamed on this.

It does mean that the plan I had – go and look at the locations I plan to describe in London – cannot now go ahead. I can’t guarantee me being able to finance it, not when I am getting a brand new computer.

In the meantime, I will be using my phone a lot more. As point of interest, I am writing this blog post on my phone using the phone/Bluetooth keyboard combination I have described in the past. I also feel a strange liberation; I have a feeling I will be doing more writing, and less procrastinating for the time being. Who knows… I might even get through the large pile of books that need to be read.

I plan to still do NaNoWriMo, and will get the outline from the online back-up if I need to. What I know is I am now in interesting times…

Gearing Up For NaNoWriMo 2015

I have been busy, getting ready for the National Novel Writing Month Challenge – known as NaNoWriMo – for the past couple of weeks. Every November, you get the chance to sit down, and with fellow, like-minded people, fight to meet the challenge of writing fifty thousand words a month. This might seem impossible, but I have managed to write whole first drafts in a month, and at seventy five thousand words. I also know people who have (somehow) achieved a hundred thirty words. Impossible isn’t something that should discourage you, but rather inspire you to do more, push harder and reach further. I remember in GCSE Geography being told I would not get a C grade. I was expected to get an F grade, based on how I had been getting along. My coursework I hadn’t understood, and on top of that, I ended up having a breakdown at the point all of my coursework for all my subjects was to be completed. I also had been sitting with the wrong crowd in Geography, and that didn’t help, either.

But I was told that the C grade I had believed possible was out of my reach. I could accomplish a D grade, but only by doing extremely well in the exams. I then silently resolved to prove my teacher wrong, and show her up. Of course, I ended up with a second breakdown, right at the time of doing my exams. (It was an interesting year.) I couldn’t revise. I kept on sitting down, managing to read a couple of lines, before I was having panic attacks, and had to stop revising. After a small number of attempts, I realised I wasn’t going to manage any revision at all, so gave up the notion. I went into all of my exams without doing a shred of revision. I had no choice in that, and it made me even more panicked and insecure. I walked away with decent grades, and with a D grade in Geography. I was annoyed and disappointed at the time, but have since concluded I was on the Intermediate Tier exam, so the highest possible was a D grade. In any case, I think I should have – upon hindsight – have chosen History instead. But such as is life…

Again, hindsight is a wonderful thing when it comes to last year. It was an utter nightmare, that November. I had been working since August to have an outline ready, so I could be fully prepared when the first of November came along. I had been trying to come up with a Book Two to The Thorns Of Lovecraft, and nothing I came up with would work. And I tried, and tried… and all that was happening was me growing more and more agitated. In the end, I had to declare it impossible. A week before the start, I had seen the trailer for the film Lucy. I read up on it a bit more, and then was intrigued by what was coming up in my head. I decided to run with it, because I had something, even if it was something very vague, and wasn’t fleshed out at all. I set it in the town i was living in at the time, and then played around with the concept.

I had a month of nightmare. At more than one point I was gleefully plotting how to kill all the characters, just to end my misery… in the end, I had it in the same universe as the Thorns Of Lovecraft, thus helping me out slightly. But it was a hard, bitter struggle. I managed to get past the target, and before the end of the month. I never managed to finish the story, because the laptop died, and I had it all on the hard drive, in limbo. I have back-ups, but not of the final couple of days of writing. The rest can be readily salvaged, however. I’m rather annoyed, because I want to finish it.

I plan to get a new computer, and then work around the issue. I know what to do, and how to do it… I just need time to get it done. And a computer to do it. I have tried with the replacement netbook, but it is rather uncooperative in that aspect. If I can’t succeed, then I shall carry on, try to rebuild the missing parts, and then continue it. This is rather personal to me now: I know it will be an okay story when finished, and I want to go and prove it. I also want to prove the impossible, and demonstrate that this will be something worthwhile. It also has helped to pave the way forwards for me, and the whole Thorns universe I have been establishing. Two years on, and it is a much more rich, diverse place.  I enjoy exploring it more and more these days.

This year, however, should be a different story. I know this because this time, I am ready. I have a full outline, I have everything fully prepared, and have done for months. That is because I had watched the horrendously bad film The Coven, and had tried to work out how to make it into a decent story. I decided to keep the name, because I had something more in keeping with it. I also accidentally discovered The Sword Of Truth series, through people Cosplaying characters in the television series adaptation created by none other than Sam Raimi. I have now managed to watch the whole of the first season of it, despite being in a country where it was never released on DVD. I love a challenge, and I love interesting stories. And Legend Of The Seeker certainly is. I will probably talk some more on that series, because there is a lot in it, and is worth taking a closer reflection on. I also took some elements, and then played with it, and expanded those ideas. I ended up having new ideas to add to the story I was developing. The end result was something that was very much in my universe, but with shades and elements being influenced by the Nightmare November story. This is something I find interesting in and of itself. And no doubt will be exploring further, when I fully write the story.

In addition to having an outline, I have been working more in the Thorns universe I created, and there is more “canon,” and more exploration of the setup, and the rules. I feel so much more confident of success, for a number of reasons. Firstly, as already detailed, I have an outline ready to go. I also have been preparing mentally, and trying to not be mentally over-taxed. I probably should start getting into Meditation again, to help keep myself centred. Another advantage is the fact I have managed to book off the first week as annual leave. So I have an eight day block where I can just write away to my heart’s content. There are also other long weekends as well, but I plan to finish the first draft in that first week, so I can focus on editing and honing it for the rest of the month. The plan is to have a fully finished novel this month. (Another impossible challenge…)

I also have managed to be writing continuously since July, when I had to switch Camp Projects about. I was working on a part finished, but fully outlined, short story. But as I progressed, I found myself being presented with a story that is really better off as a full novel. In addition, I started to sit down, and closely work out details to the story, I discovered some rather startling problems with chronology and background. So, it needs to be overhauled.

To get past the word count, I went and created a new project on the fly. It was meant to be a simple short story, but more and more kept emerging, and I just kept going. It is now well over 15,000 words long, and I’m wanting to finish it this month. Ironically, it is working into being Book Two of the multi story arc I had been trying to continue. But again, it is helping to further and develop the whole tapestry of narration I have been developing. It also is helping me hone and develop my storytelling skills, because I have been working almost every day on it, even if it is just a couple of hundred extra words per session.

I know now that I am well on the way towards succeeding, and getting more stories finished. I just need to keep going, keep finding my path forwards.

I just need to keep on proving that the impossible is possible.

Rest In Peace Slate

At the start of the month, I ended up making one of my wonderfully infrequent visits to my Facebook account. Something cropped up in the feed, and it caught my attention:

31 August at 22:59 ·

RIP Slate, it was a great ride.

Now this was from a friend I have known some time, so I straight away was paying attention. I expressed my condolences, and what words I could place together that was respectful and considerate of someone I had never met. Then there were other comments, and I was feeling more and more confused.

It turns out that Slate isn’t a real person, as in of this physical world. He is a LARP character. As in Live Action Role Play. I expresse my relief at this, because a person’s death is always a gravitas inducing event.

The matter has stayed with me, however. I have been mulling over this character death, pondering it whilst I’ve been actively trying to finish off the story I started at the end of July.

I have been pondering, because it has made me think quite a bit. I do Role Play Games myself, and have a number of characters for a number of different games. Some are not too exciting, because my group has never really done very many adventures with some of the games we play. Others, however, are far more important to me. There has been many adventures, deadly situations, personal trials. They have grown from being humble simple adventurers, into powerful heroes capable of leading great armies, and deeds well known.

Something to consider is the fact that RPGs are a form of storytelling. There is a skill and art in running a game, to make it seem like you have free will, when all you are doing is following the script. In fact, I could sit down, and write some of the adventures, because we have some classic tales.

Of course, my characters have not stayed in their respective games. My first ever character has appeared in a novel of mine. Paige Cousyn. She still is alive – amazingly. She is a Call of Cthulhu character, a game notorious for characters encountering very grisly and spectacular demises – sometimes in the first adventure. So the fact I have had her for a number of years now is something amazing. I saw opportunity to use her, and make it credible, to boot. Moreover, she will be having a bigger role in the novel I plan to write in November. More on this in due course…

I also intend to use Melissandre, my half Fae sorceress as well. I have a way to jump universes, and plan to use her in some way in a future story.

I hope to get some more blog posts up in the near future, and try to make this become far more regular. I want to talk some more about November, and the n ext National Novel Writing Month challenge. As I’ve mentioned, Paige will be in it, and life has been both cruel and kind to her. But will she be up to taking on the horrors and trials? Of course, she is just one of a number of characters. All of the action will be based in London, particularly Highgate.

And yes, I’ll be uising the Cemetary as a location. I wonder if there will be a tombstone with “RIP Slate” on it? Now that is a most interesting question indeed…